Henrik Clausen in the Animation Spotlight

animator Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen Interview with Animator Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen,
Creator of "E.T.A."

Watch it now!

We love this short 3D animation by Danish animator Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen. Great characters, suspenseful story line and a surprise ending make it a delight to watch.

My name is Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen (born 1981) and I was the director/all-round-wrangler on this project. My first steps into computer graphics was on my first computer - An Amiga500 using Photon Paint when I was about 12 years old. Later i switched to an A1200 and started doing small animations in Deluxe Paint, Image FX and later 3D using Imagine. This was about the time I was introduced to the demoscene and met Michael and Søren before attending The Party 1995. From there I started to concentrate more and more on 3D animation and combining different scenes to use in wild demo competitions. It was about this time that I met Rasmus at a local computer party and found we had a shared love for Goa trance and electronic music.

Watch E.T.A. animation now!
Watch E.T.A.
A few years later I joined JUNK and Rasmus would occasionally supply us with music in the last hours before deadline for our numerous weekend wild demo productions. At this point I had switched to a PC platform and started using 3DS Max as my primary tool. I started working professionally with 3D in 2002 for a small studio in Aarhus, Denmark, producing TV commercials for national and regional broadcast.

I am currently working full time as a freelance Visual Effects Artist doing a broad range of 3D and compositing work. In my spare time I develop and direct short films aspiring to become a fulltime director of animated/live action fiction.

Why do you love animation?
Animation for me is the ability to control practically everything. The only limit is your imagination and - to an extent - your abilities with the software you use. As a storytelling tool this is extremely powerful.

Who are your influences?
My influences for filmmaking would be Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky - and many, many more. I love the art of H. R. Giger and generally find inspiration in the gloomy areas of existence. Decay and fatigue in all its forms can be quite beautiful if put in an interesting context.

View animator Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen's portfolio!
View Henrik's Portfolio
Tell us about the process.
Søren Pødenphant Andersen came up with the premise for the story and presented it to the rest of us (JUNK). I then spent the better part of a year refining storyboards, editing animatics and creating many previz versions of the film - with input from all the others - until we finally settled on the version that became the final film.

We used 3ds Max 9 for all the 3d, Photoshop for texturing and matte paintings and After Effects for compositing. Vray was used for rendering. All the depth of field effects were done in post to keep rendering times down and to retain as much control as possible. To this end I rendering out z-depth passes for most of the shots and separated other shots into foreground, middleground and background to apply different amounts of lens blur to each pass in AE. I also added glow, grain, shakes, flares and extensive shot-by-shot masked corrections to enhance the feel of film look I wanted to achieve.

How long did it take?
The entire project was completed in a little less than four years since its inception. There were longer periods where we felt exhausted by the production, where nothing happened, and conversely long heavy hauls where tremendous amounts of work was being done in quick succession. We finished two smaller projects within the production timeframe of ETA - Good Morning Sun and Of Mice & Monsters - mainly out of the desire to actually feel the joy of completing a project. Of course this dragged the production time of ETA out even further, but we needed the boost.

Watch "E.T.A."
View Henrik's Portfolio

The Animation Marketplace